Let General Balbo fly!

Sep 11, 2017 365

BY: Dominic DiFrisco

I remember it well. I was a young manager in Chicago for Alitalia, the national airline of Italy. The date was April 5, 1962. An Alitalia DC-7 flew from Rome to Chicago for the company’s inaugural flight. Mayor Richard J. Daley, city and state officials, the press and a proudly excited Italian-American community waited for touchdown and the unfolding of an historic occasion. On board the DC-7 were six surviving members of the history-making flight of 24 Italian Savoia Marchetti S55 Aircraft that had landed in perfect formation on Lake Michigan during the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress celebration.

The air armada in 1933 was under the command of General Italo Balbo, a renowned Italian aviator and political figure. To commemorate the occasion, Chicago re-named 7th Street near Grant Park as Balbo Drive. In New York, Balbo was fêted with a ticker tape parade, and he received a decoration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Now in 1962 — 29 years after that famous visit to Chicago — General Balbo and his comrade aviators continued to be a celebrated part of our city’s history.

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SOURCE: http://chicago.suntimes.com

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